Naima Morelli

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ArchitectureBiennale

Hong-Kong based magazine Cobo has just published my report on this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. The overarching theme for the show is “Reporting from the Front” and the Asian pavilions are very much in the spotlight.

Here’s the link to the piece

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0Time for a throwback. In February 2013 I left Italy for Australia. I lived in Melbourne for almost an year, and while I was there I started freelancing for English-speaking magazines – though I had already published a couple of pieces for Art Monthly Australia and others the previous year. There I developed a research on the local art system and artists in Melbourne – with a small side report from Perth.

When I came back to Italy, my idea was to make a book about emerging artists in Melbourne, with a similar concept to my Indonesia book. I wanted to give a synthetic but thorough introduction to a an art scene not well known abroad, this time making the book more narrative and focusing on the struggles of the emerging phase of an artist’s career. Because of other commitments – finalizing and publishing the Indonesian bookfreelancing steadily for magazines, curating exhibitions, starting out  as video-journalist and so on – I ended up working on it intermittently. That made it harder to pick up the book where I left and get back into the right mindset for writing again.

This summer 2015, after having struggled with a final draft of the book, I finally decided to put the project on hold indefinitely. Whether I’ll work on it or not in the future, a part of my research has been published on a number of Australian, Italian and international magazines. Even if the published material is just the tip of the iceberg, it can give you an idea of what I’ve looked at while in Australia – I find the interviews in particular a useful resource. In this long-winged post I’ll give you the coordinates of my reportage, plus the photostory of my research Down Under. 

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I’m back home after five days in Venice for the 56th Biennale di Venezia, reporting the event for ArtsHub and realizing interviews for Art a Part of Cult(ure). I had a great time, meet  with extraordinary people and lost myself in the maze of narrow streets. Venice is so beautiful it cannot be. Between the pavilions, the “All the World’s Futures” show and the collateral exhibitions, the Biennale was overwhelming. So much great work around you couldn’t believe! I didn’t nearly get to see everything I wanted to see. Just like everyone, at the end of this tour de force I had my feet completely broken and I laid sick in bed for a couple of days. But even then, the spirit was high and I now I feel incredibly energized, happy and ready to take on the world! While you’ll see my articles about the Biennale coming out in the next few days (my personal selection for ArtsHubthe Indonesian pavilion on the Manifesto and the Australians in Venice are already out) here’s the visual counterpoint.

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artparisartfair

My review of the Art Paris Art Fair (in Italian) has just been published on the web magazine Art a Part of Culture with the title “South East Asia in Paris. If we are not going to Singapore, Singapore is coming to us”. In the article I go into the role of Singapore as a hub for South East Asia, as discussed in an interesting talk at the fair, and the other related events going on in France at the moment.

Here’s the link to the article

If you are new to that and want to start learning about contemporary art in South East Asia, I have a book (in Italian) who gives an introduction about Indonesian contemporary art. Find more about it here.

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photostory2
Here’s the second part of my photostory from the research for my book about contemporary art in Indonesia. If you miss the first part you can find it here

Rome, Berlin, Sorrento, Melbourne, Naples, Venice. Since I came back from Indonesia I tried to look for Indonesian art, artists and exhibitions wherever I went – and I met wonderful people in the process. At the same time I faced the challenge to organize all the material from my research and integrate it with new information. For months the arts pages of the Jakarta Post, the Jakarta Globe and Asia Art Pacific became my morning reading. I didn’t know much about how to write a research-based book when I started and I learned so much in the process – in the photo above you can see me experimenting with post-its.
In a few weeks the book will finally be published (want to be updated? Drop a mail to contact[at]naimamorelli.com with the subject line Indonesia Book and I’ll keep you posted). In the meantime here are some pictures from the European and Australian part of my research:

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photostory
The summer of 2012 is not a long time ago , but from my perspective and for all I have experienced in this two years it feels like decades ago. Back then I just graduated from the Art Academy with a thesis on the “Popolo” in the arts and, at the beginning of the year I started to became intrigued by Indonesian art thanks to the exhibition “Beyond the Est” at MACRO, curated by Dominique Lora. I began researching about contemporary art in Indonesia and in a few weeks I was a regular visitor of the Castro Pretorio library in Rome. I would go there every week sourcing and memorizing everything I could find related to art in Indonesia and South East Asia. I would fill notebooks on notebooks and start planning to go to Indonesia. At that time my partner in crime Lucas Catalano was eager to go back to Bali to work on a photoessay and he offered me his help with the project.
I mailed Barbara from Art a Part of Cult(ure), the magazine I was writing for from three years, asking if she would be interested in a reportage of the art scene in Indonesia. She said yes, of course! I started sending emails around to the artists and fix interviews. Once in Indonesia, everyone was super nice, open and welcoming. Every interview gave me not only fundamental insights into the art practice of the artist and his context, but it was also really good fun! Here some pictures that give you some glimpses of the field-research that I did for my upcoming book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia”. There are no captions; let the images do the talk! Then of course, if you are already accustomed to the arts in Indonesia you will certainly recognize all the faces. (And of course, don’t miss the updates for the release “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia”)

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